Micro-organismsBacteria, fungi, viruses, and
Nosocomial infectionAn infection originating
in the environment of a hospital or freestanding dental
treatment facility (DTF).
Personal protective attireSpecialized barrier
attire worn by an employee to protect against a hazard.
O c c u p a t i o n a l e x p o s u r eReasonably
anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral
exposure to blood or other potentially infectious
materials that may result from performance of your
duties, despite the appropriate use of protective attire
Saturated steam sterilizationA process that
uses steam heat under pressure for sufficient length of
time to kill all forms of micro-organisms.
Sanitary sewer systemA sewer system
connected to a sewage treatment plant.
Spray-wipe-sprayAn acceptable method of
cleaning and disinfecting. Presently there is no agent
on the market with the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) registration that cleans and disinfects in
one step. Therefore, the importance of cleaning as a
separate step from disinfection and sterilization cannot
SterilizationProcess that destroys all types and
forms of micro-organisms.
Sterilization areaThe area of a health care
facility designed for housing sterilization equipment
and conducting sterilization procedures.
Sterilizer (gravity displacement type)A type
of sterilizer in which incoming steam displaces via
gravity, the residual air through a port or drain usually
in or near the bottom of the sterilizer chamber.
Common exposure techniques: 30 minutes at
121-123°C (250-274°F) and 15 to 17 pounds per
square inch (psi); or 15 minutes at 132-135°C
(270-274°F) and 30 to 32 psi. Always follow
manufacturers recommended settings.
Sterilizer (prevacuum type)A type of
sterilizer that relies on one or more pressure and
vacuum evolutions at beginning or end of the cycle.
This method of operation results in shorter cycle times
because of the rapid removal of air from the chamber
and the load by a vacuum system. Operating
temperatures are 132-135°C.
Unit doseThe quantity of materials or supplies
required to treat a single patient.
Universal precautionsA protocol for infection
control that treats all human blood and body fluids as if
known to be infectious for HIV, HBV, and other
Work practice controlsControls that reduce
the likelihood of exposure by altering the way one
performs a task such as having patients brush their
teeth or using antiseptic mouthwash before beginning
a procedure; using the rubber dam whenever possible,
disinfecting the isolated teeth, and using a disinfectant
mouthwash before and after applying the dam; heavy
duty, puncture-resistant utility gloves (fig. 9-1) are
used when handling instruments, and while cleaning
and disinfecting instruments during the sterilization
process; using an accepted and safe technique for
recapping needles; and disposing of sharps before
beginning cleanup procedures at the conclusion of
Identifying potentially infectious patients by
medical history, physical examination, or readily
available laboratory tests is not always possible. A
period of up to several weeks often exists between the
time a person becomes infected with a virus and the
time when a laboratory test can detect the antigens or
antibodies that form. In an HIV-infected individual,
this period could be 6 months or more. Consequently,
even if a patient tests negative, he or she may still be
infectious. Dental personnel must assume that all body
fluids and contaminated instruments and materials are
infectious and use universal precautions to protect
themselves and the patients.
IMMUNIZATION AND TESTING
Dental personnel providing direct patient care,
including civilian employees, volunteers, dental
laboratory, and repair personnel who are directly
exposed to blood and saliva, must receive an HBV
vaccine. Also, all active duty healthcare personnel
will receive HIV and tuberculosis testing and or
screening on an annual basis during each calendar